KiwiHarvest opens new Frankton depot with local support

by Lauren Pattemore - Dec 12, 2023

After a tumultuous four months, KiwiHarvest Queenstown has been revived through help, fundraising and time poured in from the local community.

Contributors as well as recipients of KiwiHarvest's services gathered at the new depot site this evening in Frankton, which now hosts four 20 foot storage containers for dry, frozen, and chilled goods.

Addressing tonight's guests, Queenstown branch manager Gary Hough says he is proud of the community he lives in and the amount of people who had jumped in and "made things happen".

Queenstown KiwiHarvest manager Gary Hough says he is proud of the community he lives in.

The help came in from across all ages and industries, he says.

In August, Mr Hough received a call from head office that the charity couldn't continue to pay rent for its former Queenstown depot on Glenda Drive due to central government funding cuts.

The service was at risk of closing down in Queenstown but, in those four months, 12 local businesses and nine community groups donated their time and money to keep it alive.

Amongst them was a team of 10 workers from Wilson's Contractors, who volunteered their time on Saturday, November 25 to get the site ready with diggers, trucks and gravel.

Mr Hough says this work alone would have cost more than $20,000.

Dean Dolan of Wilson's Contractors says when they put the call out to their staff to do the ground works they "had an amazing response", with more people putting their hands up than what was needed.

He reckons volunteers wanted to help because they liked the concept of food not going to waste, and helping people out in the community that needed it.

This year, Queenstown KiwiHarvest has salvaged 130,000 kilos of excess food, saving it from landfill and re-distributing it to 12 local charities.

Mr Hough says the goal is to have a fully locally supported and sustainable funding model.

From left, Athol Elliot, Dean Dolan and Alex McLiver, of Wilson's Contractors, one of a number of local companies who pitched in to help Queenstown KiwiHarvest.

Since the SOS call was put out, the organisation has also received some timely funding boosts, with Central Lakes Trust committing to providing $111,000 over 18 months, a $100,000 grant from Impact100, and a $30,000 grant from Sky City Community Trust, which helped cover relocation costs.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has also pledged ongoing funding to keep the site going, contributing $10,000 quarterly to the operation, and through its waste ministration program it has gifted two e-bikes that will allow KiwiHarvest to expand its services.

The bikes will be used to collect food from Frankton and Wānaka cafes.

A new home in Frankton helps secure the future of food rescue organisation KiwiHarvest in Queenstown.

Queenstown Lakes District councillor Esther Whitehead, who founded the KiwiHarvest Queenstown branch in 2018, was also in attendance this evening, telling those gathered the amount of support received is a testament to how valued KiwiHarvest is in the local community.

The new home is a 20 metre by 18 metre space in Frankton on land leased to the Whakatipu Community Hub Trust.

Mr Hough says KiwiHarvest would have been "homeless" if it weren't for the trust.

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